|A Petition on Behalf of a Regulator of Orange County, North Carolina,
with Names of Petitioners, Including Members of my Baldridge Family
"Our Baldridge Forbears" by Dr. Chester Kennedy &
"Colonial Records of North Carolina, 1771 - 1775"
Four of the Baldridge brothers of Orange County: Malcolm, John (my
5-g-grandfather), Robert and Daniel, signed a petition for a pardon for John Fruit,
who was one of the captured Regulators and a brother-in-law of Robert. The
Regulator movement was an expression of discontent by the citizens of the
frontier counties of Granville, Anson and Orange Counties, North Carolina (and I'm
told it, also, included a few areas of Virginia). They accused clerks, lawyers and
sheriffs of theft. The laws of NC did not specify definite fees for various taxes and
other collections by the counties, so many abuses were known to have taken place
on the citizenry. Many of the settlers in these frontier areas couldn't read or write,
so it was an easy matter for those in public office to defraud them. Some taxes
were said to have been collected and the money kept by the officials, so that, in
time, the same tax was collected again by still more officials.
Some of these citizens had endured similar unfair practices by the English in their
native Ireland and they determined that they would not put up with it in the
Colonies. An organization known as the Regulators was formed in Orange County
in about 1766. The Regulators spread to other counties and were soon outlawed
by the governor. After many skirmishes between the Regulators and the King's
Army, the difficulties culminated in March, 1771, at the Battle of Alamance Creek.
The farmers were soundly defeated and John Fruit, along with numbers of others,
was captured and sentenced to be hanged.
It is believed by some that the Regulators and the Battle of Alamance were
precursors to the Revolution. The following was written by Baldridge family
historian, Dr. Chester Kennedy:
"There were many zealous Scotch-Irish in the ranks of the Patriots during the
Revolution and they acquitted themselves admirably on the battlefield. The
literature is filled with their conspicuous role in the Revolution, and many fighting
units, particularly those of Pennsylvania, were composed almost entirely of
Scotch-Irish. Their rough, hardy, outdoor life on the frontiers of America fitted
them very well to be great combatants."
The Petition (Just as it's recorded, including punctuation & spelling of names.)
To His Excellent Josiah Martin His Majesty's Captain General, Governor,
Commander in Chief in and over the Province of North Carolina:
The petition of Sundry of the Inhabitants of Orange County Humbly Sheweth
That whereas John Fruit one of the out Lawed Regulators, hath ever since he
came to years of Maturity behaved himself as a useful member of Society and in all
things becoming a subject of great Britain, until he unfortunately fell in with that
most Extraordinary set of Enthusinstick people Called Regulators; we also further
humbly shew that the said John Fruit hath a wife and sundry small Children who
are in the utmost Distress, for want of that Comfort and Support which he as a
Father and Husband ought to supply them with and as he sheweth such great
signs of Penitence for the past follies of his life promising ever obedience to the
Laws of this province as becomes a Subject of great Britain, we are in Charity
bound to hope that he, if Pardoned would again become a good subject and useful
member of Society, and therefore Humbly pray that your Excellency would Extend
to him his Majesty's most gracious pardon and we your Humble petitioners as in
duty bound will over pray.
Phillip Jackson Jun'
Alex' Mebane Jun'
John Pugh (Hawfields)
Henry Pennington Daniel Rees Jun
By the way, the story has a happy ending for John Fruit; he was pardoned and
lived until 1824.
|Allen House, built about 1782, Alamance Battleground State
Historic Site, Alamance County, North Carolina